The organization of the 21st century: Agility, Possibility Thinking, Trust & Self-Leadership

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We live and work in unique times. Never before have the changes been so numerous and followed each other as fast. Innovations are turning organizations upside down, both figuratively and quite literally.

Marleen Boen, Managing Director and the driving force behind Training & Coaching Square, often sees feelings of helplessness as a result of all these transformations. Tied up with ‘Let’s get this over with quickly so that we can move on’. Marleen: ‘’This type of thinking belongs in the 20th century and therefore isn’t suited to the 21st.

Team management

Leaders and co-workers feel unsure and even anxious. Fearing the unknown, afraid they will lose control and become dependent on those who do follow the changes. The traditional belief in leadership has gone, too, because even that concept no longer has the answers. Self-managing teams build on the self-management of each employee and less on the management of one person. In the past, the vision of the company was also its goal.


“Being agile is important in order to keep up with ever-changing, fast system and process transformations”

Marleen Boen Managing Director

Nowadays, it no longer indicates direction.’’ So how can companies be successful? According to Marleen, there are four decisive dimensions. Marleen: ‘’Being agile is important in order to keep up with ever-changing, fast system and process transformations. In our trajectories, we question Agility via five sub-dimensions. This increases the complexity but offers a clear analysis. All five are necessary in order for the individual to become Agile and consequently evolve towards an Agile organization.”

Marleen recently read the book ‘The Fearless Company’ by Amy C. Edmondson. Marleen: ‘’ Organizations that make decisions based on fears won’t be able to survive. The pressure becomes too great and eventually leads to suffocation and entanglement. Possibility Thinking is a smarter alternative. This is the belief that more is possible than you think. It is also about having trust and believing in a future-oriented evolution. Trust instead of ‘everything that’s new is bad’. Evolution will happen together instead of just being a top-down process. In addition, the responsibility no longer lies with the leader alone, but with every individual in the organization. This is why self-leadership is indispensable: what can I do, what do I want to do, what dare I do, what choices do I make, based on my values and life vision?’’

Become agile

Fear ensures that you walk exclusively within the lines of beaten paths. This only helps you find answers to problems from the distant past. The challenges of today are on a whole other level. Marleen: ‘’This is about things we haven’t lived through before, such as AI and ultra-fast digitalization. So instead of organizations trying to play the keep-up game, they should instead focus on becoming Agile, Possibility Thinking, Self-leadership and working together in trust. This way, they can handle the approaching change and keep the workload level stable.’’

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